‘Gun Control a Third Rail of Democratic Campaigns’

Posted by on August 4, 2018 12:54 pm
Categories: Column 2

A report in Roll Call suggests Democratic candidates this year “should embrace a bolder approach to restrictions on guns, even in general elections” based on a recent poll, and notes that “Gun control has been a third rail of Democratic campaigns.”

Revolver atop a copy of the Second Amendment

Roll Call is reporting that Democrat candidates may become more aggressive about gun control.

This is hardly an earth-shattering revelation to Second Amendment activists across the country, who were not surprised this week when Democrat attorneys general moved to prevent a Texas-based firm from publishing3-D gun blueprints online. For years, Democrats on Capitol Hill have led the way on attempts to increasingly restrict the right to keep and bear arms, even after the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled twice that the Second Amendment protects and affirms a fundamental individual right to own a gun.

Among the Democrat hopefuls mentioned in the article is Dr. Kim Schrier, running in Washington State’s 8th Congressional District. One of her most repeated advertisements is pure gun control, in which she promises to “stand up to the NRA.”

That might not favorably impress the more than 98,300 constituents in King County who have concealed pistol licenses, along with the 6,379 licensed voters in Kittitas County or the 8,431 CPL holders in Chelan County, or the 73,166 licensed voters in Pierce County, parts of all that are encompassed in the district. There are a lot of NRA members in the 8th District. Also in that district are two of the region’s most active gun clubs, in Issaquah and the Snoqualmie Valley, and there are a lot of gun owners in Wenatchee, Ellensburg, North Bend, Cle Elum, Cashmere, and elsewhere.

According to the Washington Department of Licensing, as of July 31, there were 588,319 Evergreen State gun owners who had active concealed pistol licenses. That’s an increase of 3,613 CPLs over the 584,706 reported at the end of June. It constitutes another month of rebound for CPL numbers, which had dipped about 11,000 between Dec. 1 of last year when there were 591,366 active licenses and this past March, when the decline bottomed out at 580,362. Over the past four months, nearly 8,000 people have received new or renewed CPLs as campaign season gradually ramps up.

Screen capture of Dr. Kim Schrier for democratic gun control

Dr. Kim Schrier is a Democrat hopeful in Washington’s 8th District who is running on a gun control message.

Washington isn’t the only state where concealed carry is on the rise. Arizona’s Department of Public Safety reported that 333,571 carry licenses are now in circulation, up from the 330,776 reported in April.

Granted, concealed pistol licenses do not translate to votes, but the data provides an indication of the number of gun owners concerned enough about their own safety and the safety of their families to be armed. Those gun owners can be activists when it counts, and activists not only vote, but can influence the votes of their families and friends.

While gun control may be a “third rail” for the national party, there are some solid pro-rights Democrats who buck the odds in their well-armed districts to stay in office. Their constituents may reflexively vote “D” but there’s a rifle or shotgun in the corner of the closet or on a gun rack, and they’re not about to give them up.

In Washington State, there is an upcoming primary election. The results should signal whether a gun control message carries as much weight as some people apparently hope it does.

What do you think the vote will show? Is gun control a winning position for politicians? Will gun control play a role in the November midterm elections? How? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Dave Workman is the Senior Editor at the Liberty Park Press.